ON Saturday, April 8, I went to my first League One match. Shrewsbury Town vs Rochdale at Greenhouse Meadow.
My friend Jacob is a huge Shrewsbury Town fan and lives not too far away from their home ground, Greenhouse Meadow.
As he goes to most home games (and actually works at the ticket office) and I also happened to be visiting, we decided to go to the 3 o’clock kick off against Rochdale.
First off I was surprised by how cheap tickets were, just £15. I paid that much a year or so ago to go and watch rivals Wrexham and they’re two leagues below Shrewsbury.
Once we got in we decided to sit in the Bandera stand, where the true die-hard Salop fans were sitting (and standing). The atmosphere was brilliant and the fans did not stop singing, clapping and spurring their team on throughout.
The game got off to a good start for the home side and they enjoyed much of the possession. Then, just 16 minutes in to the match, striker Stefan Payne scored with a neat finish past Rochdale’s Conrad Logan.
There was almost an instant equaliser for Rochdale however as Leutwiler spilled a shot recklessly at the feet of Ian Henderson who poked the ball into the net, but he was offside!
As half time came to be, the Blue and Amber army were 1-0 up and had played some pretty decent football. The one hung they had struggled to do this season was defend and hold on to leads, so the next 45 minutes were going to be huge.
The second half brought more of the same, but Rochdale were a little bit livelier, as chances fell to both sides, but neither could seem to capitalise.
A lack of action for a couple of minutes saw the Shrewsbury fans turn their attention to the aforementioned Rochdale keeper, Conrad Logan (who’s gained a few pounds over the past year or two). He had to take stick off them for a good 20 minutes. My personal favourite chants of the lot aimed towards him were “meat pie, sausage roll, who’s that fat lad in the goal?” And “you’re just a fat Kasper Schmeichel”. Quality banter to be fair.
In the last 10 minutes or so of the game, a man known as “Timmy Mallet” A.K.A. The local nutter, was running down the bottom of where we were all sat, riling the crowd to sing their songs and clap along with him as he jumped all along the front of the stand. Some might hate that sort of distraction, but I loved it. It was the type of thing you’d just never get away with in the Premier League crowds.
There was another scare in the 88th minute when Rochdale striker Calvin Andrew headed in a cross into the bottom corner of the goal, but again it was ruled out for offside!
As the final whistle blew and it ended 1-0, the fans, including a now shirtless Timmy Mallet, went wild with applause and rushed to pitch side to congratulate their players. Their passion and love that they had for their club was clear to see.
The win was Shrewsbury’s first since February and they even kept a clean sheet thanks to some stern defending from a hard working back four. It also lifted them out of the relegation zone, although they are still hovering above it.
Maybe I’m their lucky charm? Who knows, but one things for sure, I’d love to go back again soon!
Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Rochdale
Leutwiler, Grimmer, Sadler, Nsiala, Brown, Whalley (77), Morris (91), Deegan, Rodman, Payne (66), Dodds.
Subs: Humphrys (66), Ladapo (77), Yates (91).
Logan, Rafferty, McNulty, McGahey, Andrew, Camps, Lund (59), Rathbone (66), Mendez-Laing, McDermott (50), Henderson.
Subs: Noble-Lazarus (50), Keane (59), Davies.
Attendance: 5,002 (356 away fans)